Preparing for a classroom-based workshop. Check with the workshop leaders for recommended equipment. Many workshops have such specific topics that the equipment also is specific. However, some workshops will have specialized equipment to borrow at the workshop. Find out what’s available and what will be needed. If it’s suggested that you bring along a selection of images, be sure to choose those that are most appropriate to the class topic. If you’ll be spending time outdoors in the workshop, check to see what the weather conditions are likely to be.
A field workshop is like a tour and like a classroom. Field workshops are located in specific and special locations. Unlike a tour, a field workshop will generally stay in just that location. Similar to a classroom-based workshop, most field workshops have specific topics related to the location. These can range from landscape photography to bird photography to macro photography and more. The best field workshops marry the topic to the location so that it seems natural to be shooting that particular topic in that particular location.
Unlike a classroom-based workshop, field workshops often have to make do with less-than-ideal “classrooms” for instruction. These workshops are chosen for the location, not the facilities. Know that, and you’ll more likely enjoy the experience of shooting at a special location. Workshop leaders are good photographers who know the area, so they can be both instructor and guide.
Preparing for a field workshop. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors at a field workshop, being prepared for the likely conditions at the site is essential. Always check weather conditions for the location right up to the time you leave home. I’ve been on field workshops that seemed to change from winter to summer within one week, and if you don’t have the right clothing and footwear for such changeable conditions, you won’t enjoy the workshop. It also helps to do a little research ahead of time about the location. Know a little bit about what the important features are for that location as related to the topic of the workshop.
Getting The Most From A Workshop A lot of what you’ll get from a workshop is the experience itself. It’s important that you choose a workshop that’s likely to give you an experience that fits your personality and your way of learning. That’s not to say that you may want to try a workshop that will push you outside of your normal way of working, but if you’re too uncomfortable, you won’t enjoy it.
It’s important to remember that when you’re involved in the learning of the workshop, any workshop, put everything else aside. When my son was growing up and playing Little League baseball, he would sometimes finish a game and complain about the umpire. My wife and I would tell him that the umpire was going to do his thing regardless of what he thought and that he better focus on the ball if he hoped to get a hit.
A corollary applies to workshops. If your mind is constantly on something external to what you can do in the workshop, such as problems at work or home, you won’t be focused on getting that “hit” of great learning from whatever workshop you choose. I know it sometimes can be hard to put those other things aside, but the more you can live in the moment of that workshop, the more you’ll get from it, regardless of the type of workshop, regardless of the location, regardless of the topic.
That means turning off cell phones, forgetting about email, forgetting about things going on at work or at home. I know you’ve probably heard this before, but I can tell you from experience that this is true. As soon as your mind starts living in another space rather than what’s happening in the workshop, you’re not at your best, and you won’t get the most from the workshop.